Phillies Bryce Harper owns the city after historic performance

by Marc Narducci | Oct 24, 2022
Phillies Bryce Harper owns the city after historic performance

Bryce Harper is on a Hall of Fame trajectory and he added to his case with an all-time performance in the Phillies 4-1 National League Championship Series win over San Diego Padres.

Harper was the no doubt-about-it MVP of the NLCS. He went 8 for 20 (.400) with three doubles, two home runs and five RBI.

His eighth-inning two-run home that gave the Phillies a 4-3 lead in their 4-3 victory in Game 5 over the Padres is one of the most iconic plays in team history.

Harper has been having big hits all postseason. In 11 playoff games this year (where the Phillies are an incredible 9-2), Harper is hitting .419 (18 for 43) with six doubles, five home runs, 11 RBI and a 1.351 OPS. He has also scored 10 runs.

Remember, he has been hampered most of the season with an elbow injury and then missed a few months when he was hit in the thumb with a pitch.

Right now, he has found his groove and when he gets into a zone like this, he can carry a team.

That is why even though the Houston Astros are favored to beat the Phillies in the World Series, nobody should count them out, especially if Harper stays this hot.

The big question is whether Houston will actually pitch to Harper. Here is what Harper did game by game in the NLCS. He had at least one hit in every game.

During the Phillies 2-0 victory in Game 1,  broke a scoreless tie. With a fourth-inning home run off Yu Darvish.

Even in defeat, during the Phillies 8-5 loss in Game 2, he went 2 for 4 with a double.

During the Phillies 4-2 win in Game 3, Harper was 1 for 4. In the wild 10-6 comeback win in Game 4, he was 2 for 4 with two doubles, a run scored and two RBI.

Then in the decisive 4-3 Game 5 win, Harper was 2 for 4 with a home run and two RBI.

Very few athletes embrace Philadelphia the way Harper did. When he signed his 13-year, $330 million contract, he had a no-trade clause. He made his commitment to the city and has been a fan favorite due to his stand-up nature.

On the rare instance, he has struggled, he has acknowledged it and always said he has to do better, never pointing figures at others.

Harper just turned 30 on Oct. 16 and it seems like he is older since he has been in the Major Leagues since the age of 19.

Before this year he had never won a postseason series, having lost all four that he played in for the Washington Nationals.

The Nationals won the World Series in 2019, the year after Harper signed with the Phillies and that must have stung a little bit.

But Harper wanted to come to Philadelphia, wanted to play in front of passionate fans and he has become one superstar who has been better than advertised.

The first thing he said in all his postgame interviews was that the Phillies weren’t finished. He is intent on making this magic continue for one more series.

Harper had plenty of offensive help in the series and in the playoffs in general, but he has been the catalyst, somebody who appears on a mission and is right now in one of the best grooves of his Hall of Fame career.

 

Photo courtesy of Phillies Twitter

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Author: Marc Narducci

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